We all know rechargeable batteries are out there and are probably better for the environment, but we look at the price with sticker-shock and wonder: Are rechargeable batteries really worth the price and hassle? At this time of year, with the purchase of Christmas gifts requiring batteries, it’s worth figuring out!

In our home the items that will get the most frequent use (and thus, eat batteries to no end) will be our digital camera (4xAAs) and my daughter’s Leap Pad (4xAAs). So for us, that’s an absolute bare minimum of 8 batteries needed between the two.

Eight AA batteries can cost me as little as $3 for cheap-o batteries at the store. But with heavy use, they’ll be dead in a day, or with occasional use, maybe a few days to a week at most. They’re great for convenience, but think of how much these "cheap" batteries cost over the span of a year. Assuming a generous 8 AA batteries a week at $3.00 a purchase, that will cost you $156 a year, bare minimum!

Now, let’s pick up some of the more expensive, best performing rechargeable batteries available: the Sanyo Eneloops. For this comparison, I chose the manufacturer’s store pricing, but you can often find these on sale elsewhere online. For $37.99 you can get a starter kit with 8xAAs, 2xAAAs, a charger, and C and D battery spacers (adapters that allow you to use your rechargeable batteries as C or D batteries).

The estimates on the packaging say that it will cost you less than 4 cents a charge. So, assuming 8 AAs recharged once a week at 4 cents a recharge, it will cost you $2.08/year to keep using them. This would bring your whole first year’s cost to just over $40.00.

So, is the headache of having to recharge batteries worth the savings? Does a couponer save money? Bet on it! Saving $116 the first year and $154 a year thereafter is pretty huge. Even if I bought extras for the convenience of having them around, making the headache of recharging a non-issue, the savings might shrink a little that first year, but I would still be saving around $154 a year. (And for upwards of 28 years, if the manufacturer’s claim of 1500 charges is correct.) Now that’s some serious money!

For Sanyo Eneloops (the best rated rechargeable battery available):

For Rayovac Rechargeables (my second favorite choice):

This has been a guest post by Amber from St. Johns, AZ
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